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University system waiving standardized test scores for admission to most campuses

The University System of Georgia will waive SAT and ACT test requirements at most of the system’s 26 institutions for another year, system Chancellor Sonny Perdue announced Thursday. The university system didn’t include the tests as an admissions requirement for the fall semester this year at all schools except the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia College & State University.

The waiver will continue next fall, with only UGA and Tech being excepted.

Perdue cited recent enrollment declines at some of the system’s institutions as a driver in his decision to continue waiving the tests. Schools in surrounding states that compete with Georgia for students also are waiving standardized test requirements. Universities across the nation have been waiving the tests since the coronavirus pandemic struck two years ago, forcing high schools to cancel in-person instruction in favor of online classes.

“[University system of Georgia] students coming into this fall went through pandemic high school years,” Perdue said Thursday. “The quality of education wasn’t as good.”

Perdue said the value of SAT and ACT tests also has come into question in recent years.

“There’s a national discussion on whether GPA (grade-point average) or [standardized] test scores are better predictors of student success,” he said.

Perdue said he will revisit the issue during the coming months and decide next spring whether to continue waiving the test scores after the 2023 fall semester.

In other business Thursday, the system’s Board of Regents unanimously approved a $3.14 billion fiscal 2024 operating budget request, a slight 0.8% increase over the fiscal 2023 spending plan that took effect in July.

Gov. Brian Kemp instructed state agencies last month to hold the line on spending when they make their annual budget requests, despite the state’s record surplus. However, the university system was given some wiggle room to accommodate enrollment growth, said Tracey Cook, the system’s executive vice chancellor for strategy and fiscal affairs.

The proposed budget will head next to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, which will develop final spending recommendations to be presented to the General Assembly in January.

The regents also adopted a $204.2 million capital budget request. It includes $137.7 million for four construction projects: a research tower at Georgia State University, an interdisciplinary STEM building at Kennesaw State University, and renovations at the campuses of the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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